Theological Retrieval for Evangelicals: Why We Need Our Past to Have a Future – Gavin Ortlund

Posted On December 13, 2019

Interest among evangelicals in the Protestant Reformation has been on the rise for several years. With the recent quatercentenary commemoration of the Reformation, interest continues to blaze hotter than ever.

Gavin Ortlund, himself a student of the Reformation, argues in his recent book, Theological Retrieval for Evangelicals: Why We Need Our Past to Have a Future that a modified approach is in order. The author observes that some evangelicals are growing restless. They yearn to understand what lies at the heart of their faith. And they lack a theological grounded that both informs and inspires.

Ortlund’s book, in two parts. Part one sets forth the case for theological retrieval. Is it even possible for evangelicals to retrieve patristic and medieval theology? The author interacts with the various view of Warfield, Calvin, and Luther and argues that it is indeed possible to draw from the rich theological past. Such a retrieval, according to the author, serves like a map that serves the weary pilgrim. Various benefits of theological retrieval are proposed, along with some of the pitfalls that may accompany such a pursuit.

Part two includes several case studies that reveal the various strengths of pursuing the theological retrieval that the author is proposing. The most interesting case study involves a detailed look at substitution as both satisfaction and recapitulation through the lenses of Athanasius, Irenaeus, and Anslem.

I found Theological Retrieval for Evangelicals both illuminating and informing. Ortlund’s insight and passion for church history is greatly appreciated and need in our myopic age. Too often, we are quick to throw the “theological baby” out with the bathwater. As a committed follower of Christ in the Protestant tradition, I also found parts of the book troubling. I understand the intent of the author but fear that some readers will put too much stock in Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox dogma and wind up on the wrong path at the end of the day. Overall, the book is worthy of careful study and consideration.

Related Posts

The Faithful Son

The Faithful Son

The book of Hebrews can be summed up in just one word: greater. As in, Jesus is greater. He’s greater than angels, prophets, priests, and kings. He’s greater than everything, and every person that has is, or will exist. The writer to the Hebrews labors throughout the...

What About Me? Part 1

What About Me? Part 1

Join Shelbi and Kimberly for a four-part series on self: self-image, self-esteem, identity, and self-care. How we view God and the truths of Scripture will determine how we view ourselves.

Help! I Find Myself Perpetually Discontent

Help! I Find Myself Perpetually Discontent

A Sequence of Balloon Pops After driving ten hours, the family pulls into their place of lodging. Eager to begin their much-anticipated summer vacation, they hurriedly unpack and start exploring. The Mom and Dad, exhausted from the long drive, collapse upon the couch...

Greater than Moses

Greater than Moses

Hebrews 3:3–4, “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” The author of Hebrews writes...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share42
Reddit
Pin
Share
Email